It’s no wonder that Yosemite National Park in California is amongst the most visited in the United States. While the iconic Half Dome rock is symbolic of Yosemite, there are also abundant waterfalls, forests, meadows, rivers, and wildlife waiting to be discovered. A visit to Yosemite National Park, any time of year, promises a grand experience of nature at it’s finest.
What to See and Do
The Visitor Centers will be your best resource for planning your visit.
Yosemite Valley, accessible year-round, is the heart of the National Park, about a 30-mile drive from the nearest park entrance. Here you’ll find the wonders of El Capitan, Bridal Veil Fall, Yosemite Fall, Mirror Lake, and Half Dome. Free shuttle buses transport visitors to the many sights and trailheads in Yosemite Valley. Here you may also rent bicycles, visit the Ansel Adams Gallery, and join naturalist-led activities such as ranger walks, camera walks and night-sky viewing.
The Tioga Road, which stretches across the north park, is closed November through May, as is the Glacier Point Road. Mariposa Grove, near the south entrance, hosts a stand of giant Sequoia trees, and may or may not be accessible in the winter depending upon weather and road conditions. Hetch Hetchy is located in a lower elevation area, featuring a reservoir and hiking trails that are accessible year round.
Where to Stay
While lodgings are plentiful around the park entrances, keep in mind that it’s a good hours drive to get to Yosemite Valley, where the highest concentration of natural attractions are. Ideally, you’ll want to spend at least 2 nights in the Valley. The lodging options here range from the canvas covered tent campgrounds of Curry Village, to the National Historic Landmark Ahwahnee Resort Hotel. Reservations should be made far in advance, especially for the less expensive lodging in the valley.